Jul 12, 2015
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) is a global forum that brings together business owners, young innovators, educationalists, policymakers, thought leaders and investors from across the globe to support developing regions. Since 2010, the U.S has elevated entrepreneurship to the forefront of its engagement with the world and the GES is a formal annual forum for the engagement. The 6th annual gathering is being held in Kenya on 25th - 26th July 2015, and is being co-hosted by U.S. president Barrack Obama and Kenyas president Uhuru Kenyatta. This will be the first time that the summit is held in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the decision to hold it in Kenya showcases the countrys huge economic potential. Kenya joins Turkey, UAE, Malaysia and Morocco as previous hosts of GES.
The country is blessed in numerous enviable ways a great geographical location that makes it a regional hub; great weather; an educated, numerate, literate and welcoming population with an entrepreneurial spirit; a magnet for tourists given breathtaking landscapes, pristine beaches and unique wildlife. Kenya is home to the worlds best marathoners, the worlds best mobile money platform, MPesa and a lineage to the first black president of the U.S. We have always held that the countrys biggest challenge is its reluctance or inability to step up to its vast potentials. The GES is a significant opportunity and reminder for the country and its entrepreneurs to take advantage of the countrys vast economic potential.
Entrepreneurship and innovation are essential to economic prosperity; and economic prosperity is in turn essential to addressing some of our most intractable challenges such as poverty, hunger, unemployment, inequity, insecurity and a weak shilling due to net importation.
Past summits have opened new markets for products and encouraged policy makers to break down barriers to business. Morocco for instance, following the 5th Global Entrepreneurship Summit, received considerable investments. First, there was an innovation in Science and Technology Network, which is aimed at providing Science and Technology entrepreneurs with online resources and mentorship to collaborate seek funding and grow their businesses. Second, Morocco received a USD 50 mn investment through the Millennium Challenge Corporation that is set to promote PPPs to encourage and support entrepreneurs. Third, a new vocational school for mechanics in Morocco through UN agency UNIDO, USAID, the OCP Foundation and Swedens Volvo Group was set up and this will push up the employment numbers in the industry that stood at 26% in 2012. Fourth, a credit guarantee from USAID in partnership with Spain to help finance a new cold storage facility at Moroccos Tangier Med Port will support the expansion of Moroccos agricultural value chain, resulting in growing exports and job creation.
As with most conferences and summits, what really matters is what happens after the summit. For Kenya, fortunately we already have an entrepreneurial spirit and culture. Consequently, the most effective area for government and policy makers is to focus efforts on breaking barriers to entrepreneurship in Kenya. We identify the following key areas as means to enhance entrepreneurship in the country: